Hitachi Launches Full Scale Assault on Midrange Storage Market

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Hitachi Data Systems, provider of Application Optimized Storage solutions, and wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT), today changed the industry landscape once again with the announcement of all-new products that introduce rich, high-end functionality to the broader midrange and SMB markets. Hitachi thus extends its industry thought and innovation leadership as it becomes the first company to offer advanced Virtualisation capabilities across its entire product line, eclipsing all competitive offerings in this space.

With today's announcement, Hitachi is enabling companies of all sizes to truly realise the business benefits of Application Optimized Storage solutions, as now even the smallest companies can enjoy the benefits of Virtualisation by optimising the performance of their most pressing business applications-such as Microsoft Exchange or Oracle Financials-utilising the Logical Partitioning capabilities of Hitachi's integrated new fleet of midrange offerings.

Specifically, Hitachi Data Systems is making two broad announcements. The first, the TagmaStore Network Storage Controller model NSC55, delivers all of the revolutionary functionality of the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform - including its massively parallel crossbar switch architecture for high availability and performance; large-scale controller-based Virtualisation layer for ease-of-management; logical partitioning for application quality-of-service; storage-agnostic universal replication for business continuance; and a rich set of software tools. The NSC55 easily surpasses the limitations of current midrange "disk storage only" products as well as functionally-limited switch or appliance-based "Virtualisation-only" offerings, by offering customers the best of both worlds with the industry's leading rich, high-end storage functionality - and enterprise-proven Virtualisation software - all united in a powerful, rackmounted, modular form factor at a midrange price.

"In an era when software has become the most desirable way to deliver customer value, then the announcement of the NSC55 has to be seen as a significant step forward," said John Webster, senior analyst and founder, Data Mobility Group. "The list of software options now available to small to medium enterprises is impressive and includes logical partitioning and heterogeneous replication across heterogeneous disk arrays."

The NSC55 is effectively a miniaturised version of the TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform, of which more than 1,000 units have been sold since its introduction in September 2004, including all manufactured variants. The product was also recently designated as a new category of storage by IDC, and is the recipient of multiple prestigious industry awards such as "Product of the Year" from Storage Magazine; "Most Valuable Product" from InfoStor/ASNP; and an "A-List" Award from Open Systems Advisors, which also identified the Universal Storage Platform as one of the "best new technology solutions proven to deliver business results."


"A challenge for top-tier midrange customers is to deliver world-class enterprise service with limited resources. Conventional midrange storage leaves much of this market under-served. However, Hitachi has addressed this issue with the cost-effective Network Storage Controller, delivering advanced high-end function in a user-friendly form factor," said Dave Vellante, CEO of ITCentrix, an independent software and services firm. "Our extensive analysis clearly shows the NSC provides impressive efficiencies. Relative to competitive best-of-breed midrange storage products, the NSC can reduce total cost of ownership by as much as 32-percent over a three-year period. This clearly changes the dynamics of how mid range data centers can be organized to meet business priorities versus IT necessities."


Secondly, Hitachi is introducing an entirely new line-up of highly versatile and highly scalable next generation midrange, channel-optimised modular storage systems - the TagmaStore Adaptable Modular Storage and Workgroup Modular Storage lines (models AMS500, AMS200, and WMS100). Successors to the popular Hitachi Thunder 9500(tm) V Series, these new products feature sophisticated Virtualisation capabilities such as Logical Cache Partitioning, Host Storage Domains, and Virtual Ports, that no other midrange systems offer.

The AMS and WMS systems out-perform, out-scale and are significantly more reliable than comparative modular products, and will support up to 4Gb/s Fibre Channel port connectivity. At the same time, AMS systems offer high availability FC drives with a cost-effective SATA intermix option, while WMS systems are configured only with SATA drives for low-cost nearline storage applications, such as data archival for regulatory compliance. Both support advanced software for point-in-time snapshots, remote copy, and backup. These systems complement the Network Storage Controller or Universal Storage Platform as tiered or archive storage, especially when configured with SATA disk for lower costs.

"These days small and medium enterprises are facing storage challenges that are similar to large enterprises in terms of availability, performance, and manageability. Hitachi is meeting this need by taking the very latest in ultra-scalable enterprise technology and porting it down to the fastest, most functional class of midrange storage systems," said Rachel Young, vice president, Global Marketing, Hitachi Data Systems. "This powerful technology will enable mid-sized businesses to think differently about how to deploy and manage their storage infrastructure, just as our largest customers have as they became more experienced with the advanced Virtualisation capabilities of the Universal Storage Platform."

Fred Huang, vice president, Storage Infrastructure Product Management, Hitachi Data Systems, said "While most storage companies are struggling to introduce their first functional, saleable Virtualisation product in an effort to 'test the market,' Hitachi is accelerating Virtualisation deployments across the industry by throwing down the gauntlet, and equipping its entire product set with unique Virtualisation-based capabilities. With today's announcements, Hitachi is expanding its market reach by a significant margin, which makes it well placed to further erode marketshare from competitors. Hitachi has again shown itself to be a visionary leader in the data management space."

Single Point of Management; Dynamic Tiering
In contrast to other vendors whose customers are forced to learn multiple management interfaces, the Hitachi HiCommand(r) Suite provides a single interface for managing resources across the product lines, reducing training costs, enhancing productivity, and minimising the chance of errors. With tiered storage becoming a dominant architecture, many vendors still offer static tiers of storage. Hitachi's new NSC, WMS, and AMS offerings leverage Hitachi HiCommand(r) Tiered Storage Manager software to provide customers with a dynamic tiered storage strategy; that moves data to storage media that satisfy the quality-of-service and cost requirements of the application. Tiered Storage Manager is the first software product to help users define and dynamically migrate data across multi-dimensional tiers of storage without disruption to the application itself, leveraging the embedded Virtualisation layers in the NSC and USP products. It recognises and addresses the constantly changing requirements of applications allowing data to be frequently migrated between storage tiers to maintain an optimal location.


RoHS Compliance
The AMS 200, AMS500, WMS100, and NSC55 are designed to meet the European Union Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive that restricts the use of six substances in electrical and electronic equipment brought to market from July 1st 2006 onwards.


A Virtual Continuum
From its new low-end WMS100 SATA-based storage systems, to its ultra high-end USP1100 enterprise controllers; with products spanning the small and medium business markets to Global 500 companies, Hitachi provides a Virtual Continuum(tm) of Storage Virtualisation Solutions, addressing the smallest to the most intricately complex data management issues with sophisticated new Virtualisation innovations that mask complexity and simplify overall business operations.


"One of the primary objectives of Virtualisation is to simplify management of the storage infrastructure, and the unique controller-based Virtualisation capabilities of the Hitachi Network Storage Controller do just that, by providing customers with the power of a single replication engine and a single management console for all of their storage assets," said Hu Yoshida, chief technology officer, Hitachi Data Systems. "In sharp contrast, Hitachi's competitors are focused on introducing more administrative and physical complexity to the storage infrastructure, with an approach that provides for significant metadata exposures. By having first-mover advantage in not only the high-end markets but now the midrange as well, Hitachi is best positioned to emerge as the Virtualisation platform of choice in 2005 and beyond."

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